Zero Budget Natural Farming
What is Zero-Budget Natural Farming?
- The creator of the ZBNF model in India is Subhash Palekar and it was first practised in Karnataka state. He recommends the four aspects of ZBNF that are: Bijamrit, Jiamrit, Mulching and Waaphasa.
- Bijamrit is a microbial coating of seed, Jivamrit is an enhancement of soil microbes, Mulching is covering the soil with crops and Waaphasa is building of soil humus.
- Under this farming, topsoil is covered with crop residues to increase water retention, coating of seeds with cow dung and urine.
Criticism of ZNBF:
- ZBNF is hardly zero budget as many ingredients have to be purchased and apart from this wages of hired labour, the imputed value of family labour, imputed rent over-owned land, costs of maintaining cows and paid-out costs on electricity and pump sets are all costs that ZBNF proponents conveniently ignore.
- There is no claims that ZNBF produces a higher yield than non- ZNBF plot as no field trials are available, unlike conventional farming output.
- Indian soils are poor in organic matter content as 59% of soils are low in available nitrogen; about 49% are low in available phosphorus.
- Salinity and micronutrients deficiency is there in many parts of the land.
- Soils are toxic due to heavy metal pollution from industrial and municipal wastes or excessive application of fertilizers and pesticides.
- All nutrients are present in adequate quantities in all types of soils though they are not in a usable form.
Scientific approach needed:
- Necessary steps should be taken to check wind and water erosion of soils.
- Innovative technologies should be included to minimise physical degradation of soils due to waterlogging, flooding and crusting.
- Improve the fertility of saline, acidic, alkaline and toxic soils by reclaiming them.
- Location-specific interventions towards balanced fertilisation and integrated nutrient management should be needed.
- A comprehensive approach is needed to embrace a strong scientific temper.
So finally, the inclusion of Zero Based Natural Farming into our agricultural policy by the government appears unwise and imprudent.